First Parish Receives $59,000 LCHIP Grant for Meetinghouse Roof System Rehabilitation

On December 8, 2016, New Hampshire's Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) announced that First Parish Church in East Derry is one of the awardees of a 2016 LCHIP grant award for historic preservation.

Governor Hassan and LCHIP Board Chair Doug Cole present the $59,000 grant award to Paul Lindemann on behalf of First Parish Church. (Photo credit: Perry Smith)

The grant is $59,000 towards the Meetinghouse Roof System Rehabilitation project. Planned for summer of 2017, this project entails repairing and strengthening the supporting roof structure, replacing damaged 1880's slate tiles as needed, and finishing the slate roof for another century of service to the community. 

Gov. Hassan, LCHIP’s Executive Director Dijit Taylor, LCHIP Board Chair Doug Cole, and part of our team from First Parish: church member Bill Mann (left) and Arron Sturgis (right) of Preservation Timber Framing. (Photo credit: Perry Smith)

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and Senate President Chuck Morse joined together at the award ceremony to congratulate LCHIP’s most recent grant recipients on their hard work and successful efforts toward protecting the special places that define New Hampshire.  Governor Hassan observed that:

"The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is critical to protecting our natural, historical and cultural resources, and I am proud that we restored funding for LCHIP in 2013 and maintained that commitment in our current bipartisan budget. For every dollar invested by LCHIP, we see a significant return on investment through the economic activity generated by those conservation efforts. This year's grants will support important projects across the state that will preserve our natural beauty and protect our rich history and vibrant culture."

About the Roof System Rehab Project

When built in 1759, the Meetinghouse roof was no doubt covered with wooden shingles. These were likely placed with slates as part of the major renovations done in 1884 (when the stained glass windows were installed). 

Today most for the original slates are present, and in good shape. The copper nails holding them, though, are not, and the underlying structure has suffered from carrying the extra weight.

First Parish will execute the Roof System Rehab Project with expert partners Preservation Timber Framing. The work entails: 

  1. Carefully removing the existing slates covering the roof. 
  2. Repairing the board roof sheathing and underlying timber frame, and strengthening that frame to better handle the weight of the slates. 
  3. Recovering the roof with the original slates plus replacement slates that match as necessary. 
  4. Reinstalling or repairing the flashing, coping, and other roof details to ensure the roof is tight and waterproof. 

First Parish is not just repairing the roof but rather executing a type of historic building preservation classified as rehabilitation by the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for the Treatment of Historic Properties.  All work must be code-compliant yet historically-sensitive, and satisfy the applicable standards. For example:

  • The existing original slate tiles will be reused as much as possible and carefully matched when not, so that the rehabilitated roof's slate exterior should look very much as it originally did (conforms to Standard #2).
  • The original historic fabric of the roof structure will be absolutely preserved and retained, while the more modern additions of engineered lumber and metal connectors essential for code compliance will be easily distinguishable from the historic work, and straightforwardly reversible (Standards #2, 3, and 4).
  • External trim and details along the roofline will be repaired if possible, or if necessary replaced in-kind with materials and methods similar to those used by the original builders (Standard #6).

The project is planned for the summer of 2017. The LCHIP award, however, is a matching grant, and so First Parish must raise the additional funds required for the project, $118,000.

This is the second LCHIP grant award First Parish has won for Meetinghouse rehabilitation. The first was $125,000 awarded in 2015 for the Meetinghouse Tower Rehabilitation Project.

About LCHIP and the 2016 Awards

The Meetinghouse Roof System Rehab project is one of thirty five awarded funding in LCHIP’s fifteenth grant round.  supporting projects ranging from Northumberland in the North County to Nashua in the south and from Portsmouth in the east to Claremont in the west.  The three and a half million dollars awarded by LCHIP are being matched by nearly $20,000,000 in funds from other sources.

Grant decisions are made by the 18-member LCHIP Board of Directors, following a rigorous months-long application and review process.    “The LCHIP Board of Directors is always pleased to help with saving New Hampshire’s historic landmarks and landscapes” observed LCHIP Board Chairman Doug Cole or DS Cole Growers in Loudon.  He continued: “It is great to see historic buildings rehabilitated to their original glory and contributing to the local economy again.  Plus, since we all like to eat, protecting farmland is a good investment.”  

The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program is an independent state authority that provides matching grants to New Hampshire communities and non-profits to protect and preserve the state’s most important natural, cultural and historic resources. Its legislatively mandated mission is to ensure the perpetual contribution of these resources to the economy, environment, and the quality of life in New Hampshire. 

Since its inception in 2000, the program has provided 372 grants which have helped to protect nearly 200 historic structures and sites and to conserve more than 278,000 acres of land for food production, water quality, ecological values, timber management and recreation including hunting and fishing. Grants have been awarded in all parts of the state and in 149 of New Hampshire’s communities. Thirty-nine million dollars of state money have leveraged more than $244 million in funds from other sources.  LCHIP grants are supported by fees on four documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds in every county of the state. 

For more information about LCHIP, visit lchip.org or call (603)224-4113.